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ECD's Boyd prepping ideas for stimulating TN entrepreneurship, investment
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ECD Commissioner Boyd

RANDY BOYD, Tennessee commissioner for economic and community development, is staffing proposals for further energizing the State's entrepreneurial ecosystem and may submit one or more ideas as candidates for inclusion in Gov. Bill Haslam's next annual budget proposal.

Declining to detail the options he has identified before weighing them further with Gov. Haslam, Boyd told Venture Nashville today he is well aware it is "critical that startup businesses get capital."

He also asserted he believes there are concrete ways the State can facilitate both investment and startups in Tennessee, notwithstanding the looming exhaustion of capital programs overseen by ECD and LaunchTN, which reports to ECD. The entrepreneurial capital programs are TNInvestco and INCITE.

Gov. Haslam typically outlines major new initiatives during each February's "State of the State Address." The governor is also scheduled to describe his 2016-17 priorities in an address to members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 26.

Boyd, who is both a seasoned entrepreneur and an investor, made clear he believes the State's goals in the entrepreneurial sector can be achieved through more capital-efficient initiatives than TNInvestco.

He stressed that he sees "so much private capital out there looking for opportunities to invest," even though acquisition multiples are "skyrocketing," in turn leading investors to pay-up for investments.

Investment capital is flowing, said Boyd, making it imperative that, rather than focusing on capital supply, per se, Tennessee efforts should emphasize increasing the likelihood that investible companies are well positioned "in front of the money."

In addition to ECD, "Capital" has been tagged as a key issue by LifeScienceTN Chairman Steve Bares; LaunchTN CEO Charlie Brock and Nashville Entrepreneur Center Stuart McWhorter, in recent exchanges with VNC. Bares is also president of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

Boyd is chairman of LaunchTN's board of directors, and ECD has been the primary channel for funding for LaunchTN (Tennessee Technology Development Corporation), since 1999.

In keeping with state law governing TNInvestco, onlookers are unlikely to have an assessment of the true value of the TNInvestco program until as late as 2019, by which time Gov. Haslam will have passed the baton to his successor.

As previously suggested on these pages, there is room to doubt whether legislated TNInvestco metrics, alone, would be sufficient to determine the program's ultimate value.

Previous VNC TNInvestco coverage is here; earlier INCITE coverage is here. Recent Tennessean coverage of TNInvestco is here. VNC


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Tags: CAPCOs, capital, Charlie Brock, economic development, Gov. Bill Haslam, INCITE, Innova Memphis, investment, LaunchTN, LifeScience Tennessee, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Randy Boyd, Steve Bares, Tennessee Technology Develoment Corporation, TNInvestco, TTDC

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